5 principles of conscious parenting
What is conscious parenting?
In order to respond more thoughtfully to their children, parents focus first and foremost on their own thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. By following this practice, parents can prevent their children from inheriting negative patterns from their own upbringing.
Parents who practice conscious parenting make thoughtful, emotionally intelligent decisions about how to raise their children.
Conscious parenting is not a set of rules for parents to follow, but rather a set of beliefs about what children need to thrive and flourish.
The focus of this approach is on awareness, mindfulness, and effective communication.
Parenting is about establishing a relationship with your child, which requires more than just transactional interactions. Each interaction contributes to a relationship with your child, which builds trust and affection. Interactions contribute to it. Like any other relationship, it requires taking necessary actions that will build trust, open better lines of communication, and develop affinity for one another.
See your relationship with your child as one with a separate person: Your child is not a mini-version of you, and they have their own goals and aspirations that are unrelated to yours. They are unique individuals with their own demands and preferences, and it’s important to pay attention to your child in order to understand their needs. What you want and what they want are probably not always the same and parents need to accept that.
Be aware of your own emotional state with a child: Although conflict is unavoidable, mindful parents try to respond to their children’s behaviours rather than simply reacting to them. In this way, they can demonstrate to a child how to react appropriately in times of frustration and anger. Do your inner work to start recognising your own emotional wounds and parenting first. You’ll become aware of your tendencies and how they affect your parenting style by setting aside time for reflection. Learn more about your own triggers because children have a tendency to make parents’ emotions more volatile. Write down all of the situations and people that are difficult for you to remain calm so that you can continue to address these triggers. By doing this, you can be sure they won’t surprise you in the future either.
Understand that behaviours are often the result of strong emotions: Mostly we are taught to address and correct behaviours rather than supporting a child in understanding the emotions involved in these behaviours. Children who are not taught the causes of their behaviour may develop the idea that they are “bad” or “lacking” as they grow older.
For instance, when a child is angry, we might be tempted to respond by imposing a strict punishment, like a time-out, or by taking away something they enjoy, like a toy or reducing their screen time. But a better way would be for parents to be able to see the hurt that lies beneath the child’s outward rage and respond in a way that directly addresses that issue and to solve it. For example, the parent can ask the child if they are angry and want to talk about it. By doing this, the parent may be able to address the root of the problem rather than just its symptoms, and they may even be able to provide the child with a means of resolving the conflict.
Establish definite boundaries: Do not assume that good parents simply allow their children to behave as they please. Rather a better parenting approach includes explaining what is appropriate and acceptable and why and encourage your child to respect boundaries. Inform them of the reasons why what they did was unacceptable.
It is important to remember that your children are not you. They are experiencing life for the first time and forming their own perspectives on how the world functions. It’s not conscious parenting to allow your kids get away with misbehaviour or withhold punishments. It involves being conscious of your own internal condition and how it influences how you interact with your family.
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